Meet current scholarship recipient TaQuana Cooper and her sons, 14-year-old Kevin and 12-year-old Jacob. TaQuana is currently enrolled at Career Academy of Hair Design-Rogers working on her Cosmetology license. We asked TaQuana to tell us about her time as an SPSF NWA scholar.

What do you enjoy most about being a parent?
Quality time! The time we spend together making memories will last forever. Growing up, my parents would take us on vacations and the time that we spent together was priceless. I will always have those memories. I want my kids to look back and say the same thing.

How did you choose to go into Cosmetology?
It is something I have always wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do it right out of high school.

What is something you wish someone had told you before becoming a parent?
I wish someone had told me how much of an impact they would have on your life. I truly believe they’ve changed me for the better. I adopted my children, so I hear all the time how blessed they are to have me in their lives, but they are the blessings. I am the one that is truly blessed.

What is your favorite activity to do as a family?
We enjoy family movie night. We get together and pick out a movie that we can watch as a family. Then we make popcorn and cookies.

Why do you value education?
Everything starts with education. With the lack of knowledge, you go nowhere but when you receive education you can learn all you can learn and be all you can be.

What is your biggest challenge?
My youngest, Jacob, is autistic and nonverbal. So, one of the biggest challenges would be communication. Finding new and creative ways to get him to understand what I’m saying or to understand what he is saying is something we are always working on.

What do the boys want to be when they grow up?
Kevin has mentioned robotic engineering. I’m not sure what Jacob wants to do yet.

What made you decide to go back to school/go to school for the first time?
Cosmetology is something I wanted to do right out of high school. I really enjoy it and I have a passion for it—a passion that hasn’t gone away. So, I thought I need to go ahead and do this! Plus, I wanted to show my oldest son that if he really wants to do robotic engineering—then he can do it—no matter what.

How will life be different for you and your family after you graduate?
I will be able to have a job that I enjoy going to. I will also be able to set my own hours—which will allow me to make it to the boys’ Special Olympic events, therapy, and school activities.

Other than financially, what impact has SPSF NWA made on your life?
SPSF NWA has given me encouragement. They let me know that there are people out there who really care about me and want me to be successful.

What would you like to say to SPSF NWA supporters?
Thank you so much. Honestly, I could not have done this without you. You have helped make it less stressful, and when I am not stressed out, I can focus on the things I need to learn to be successful in this career. I appreciate the fact that you don’t just care about the parents—you care about our children as well. Before school started my children had a growth spurt, and we were in desperate need of new clothes. I had no idea how we were going to afford new clothes. I checked the mail and there were scholarships for my children to help with school supplies and the things they needed for school. Because of these scholarships—I was able to get the clothing they needed. To know I can provide their needs means the world to me. And I could not have done it without you. So, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your support.